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Cut Fuel Costs with eco-motoring

The March Budget has seen fuel prices reach record highs this year, adding to the toll the economic downturn is having on household budgets.  Helping people save their pennies, as well as the environment, we are urging motorists to turn to eco-motoring.

To support used car buyers in their quest to reduce their carbon footprint – and combat soaring fuel costs – our CO2Certificates, provide clear ‘at a glance’ information on the running costs, fuel consumption and environmental performance of a vehicle.  Provided as standard with our market leading HPI Check, the CO2 Certificates have been updated with the Budget’s new fuel prices to ensure used car buyers are armed with the full facts.

“In today’s climate consumers are also focused on CO2 emissions for financial reasons, not just to save the planet,” believes our Consumer Director, Kristian Welch.  “But choosing a greener car can be a complex business.  Used car buyers need to be realistic about the sort of driving they are planning on doing before buying their next car. They should be thinking about what size of engine is really necessary and whether they drive short distances in town or longer journeys on the open road. This will affect the style of vehicle buyers choose, as well as affecting the long-term motoring costs.”

Petrol vs Diesel?

Many motorists may not realise that although petrol engines give out more CO2, they produce less particulates than diesel engines, and particulates can have as detrimental an effect on the environment as CO2 emissions. For those doing short urban trips in built-up areas, petrol engines are likely to be a better choice for emitting less pollutants, with diesel engines better suited to long, open road driving. Use of higher quality fuels may also prolong the life of your engine and help maintain it in the long run.

Calculate Running Costs

Buyers should also consider that larger vehicles and performance cars have higher running costs, as well as being more expensive to repair and insure. Added to this they are also likely to be more polluting and cost more to tax each year.  “When purchasing a larger or performance-spec vehicle, make sure you do your research into the miles per gallon (mpg) you could expect and its tax band.  As part of your HPI Check report we will tell you the average fuel costs per year of the vehicle and its relevant tax band, keeping you informed of the running costs and environmental impact,” continues Kristian Welch.

Consider the Alternatives…

Of course there are now alternative fuel types to the traditional petrol and diesel, including LPG, electric and hybrid vehicles. LPG is a low carbon content fuel that produces fewer emissions and can save motorists around 40% compared with petrol and 20% compared with diesel fuel costs. LPG vehicles gain discounts on London Congestion Charges and some parking schemes as well as cheaper road tax for some vehicles.

For the environmentally conscious motorist, electric cars may be the best option, as they have zero emissions at point of use. They are cheaper to run, costing around two pence a mile and they can have lower maintenance costs, as well as the added bonus of paying zero road tax and congestion charges. And with the Governments outlined policy for a recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, this option has taken a step forward as a viable option for the UK motorist.

Hybrid cars are part electric battery and part conventional cars and have proved to be the most popular alternative to conventional vehicles. They reduce fuel consumption by using electric power, but with a petrol engine as well, there is no need to worry about running out of juice. On average, hybrids improve fuel economy by around 20%-25%, and significantly reduce emissions, compared to an equivalent non-hybrid model.

“With so many choices facing motorists when it comes to making greener car buying decisions that also suit their budget and lifestyle, it’s no wonder that people are unclear about the options. Our CO2Certificate has been designed to help used car buyers gain access to clear and concise information at the point of sale, making it easier to compare vehicles and make informed decisions.

“Eco motoring is a major focus for manufacturers and consumers alike. The rising cost of fuel and road tax means greener motoring choices can also make a lot of sense for consumer wallets. Our guide to eco motoring offers drivers everyday changes they can make to the way they drive, helping to cut emissions and reduce fuel consumption.”

HPI’s Guide to Eco Motoring

i) Consider the type of fuel you use and your style of driving. Diesel is more energy efficient than petrol, but is less suitable for short journeys.

ii) Clear your car of unnecessary clutter – on average, every 50kg of extra weight increases petrol consumption by up to 2%.

iii) Check your tyre pressure is correct to increase efficiency by up to 3%.

iv) Avoid over-revving, as higher revs use more fuel.

v) Reduce your speed. The average car consumes 38% more fuel at 70mph than it does at 50mph.

vi) Smooth and steady. Avoid stopping and starting, as this uses more fuel and produces more CO2. Anticipate the flow of traffic and keep a steady speed.

vii) Idling increases emissions so avoid doing it – switch off the engine if you can do so safely.

viii) Driving in the highest gear appropriate and changing gear early can boost fuel economy.

ix) Accelerate gently to reduce fuel consumption.

x) Using air conditioning increases fuel consumption by 10%. Instead, open windows or use the fan, but close them at high speeds.